Say Goodbye to SAM’s Flying Cars, Hello to a Floating Tree

By D. Scully

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January 13, 2017

This article originally appeared in the January 2017 issue of Seattle Magazine.

Say good-bye to Cai Guo-Qiang’s “Inopportune: Stage One” neon car crash—the commentary on 9/11 and terrorism that has greeted visitors to the Seattle Art Museum lobby since 2007—and hello to Seattle artist John Grade’s 105-foot-long “Middle Fork,” which will be suspended from the entire length of SAM’s lobby ceiling on January 17 and officially open on February 3.

In 2014, Grade (pronounced “GRAH-day”) spent two weeks 85 feet off the ground in a 140-year-old western hemlock near North Bend, creating casts of its bark to make “Middle Fork” for the 2015 reopening of the Smithsonian Museum of American Art’s 140-year-old Renwick Gallery. The sculpture, comprising half a million bits of cedar, will eventually wind up back in North Bend, where Grade will let it rot into the mossy forest floor at the foot of the tree from which it was modeled. But not right away.

“It might be here two years, or three years,” says SAM spokesperson Rachel Eggers, “but people are clamoring to show it, so it might go somewhere else after SAM. Someday, it will return to the forest.”

 

Illustration by Arthur Mount

Seattle Artifacts: The Mystery of Chief Seattle’s Death Mask

Is it real? Where did it come from?

In different parts of the world, and throughout the course of history, death has been memorialized in a variety of different ways. One of the more intriguing was death masks. Typically, a wax or plaster cast was made of a deceased person’s face, which then served as a model for sculptors when creating statues and busts.  …

Photography by Sage Chen

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Two Seattle Chefs on the Soothing Hobbies that Get Them through the Winter

Though I’ve lived in Seattle nearly my entire life, the early winter sunsets, which fall like a set of blackout curtains over the world, never fail to feel like a curse. This year, though, I wanted to challenge myself to find a better way to get through it. Could it be an opportunity to surrender…

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Hip-Hop Healing in Seattle

Rapper Carter Costello’s house is more than just a venue for artists

The last time I was at Seattle rapper Carter Costello’s house was under the cloak of night. I had been invited to an art and music show — featuring Seattle photographer and artist Baby Claypool, a duo of fire dancers, rapper Nobi and Costello — by local photographer James Gerde. Once I set foot on…

Seattle artist and curator Anthony White challenges consumerism and societal hierarchy in his work.

Seattle’s Prince of Plastic

Artist Anthony White’s work offers deep, and sometimes uncomfortable, cultural commentary

Overheard conversation at artist Anthony White’s current exhibition at the Seattle Art Museum plays out like a zeitgeisty spoken-word soundtrack that weaves between the past and present, hitting various cultural milestones along the way. “Is that Lindsay Lohan?” “Look, Nintendo!” “Do you notice the Greek columns?” “Ah, Lisa Frank!” The joyful cacophony is a reaction…